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The new £84m Whiteley shopping centre near Fareham has opened with thousands of people turning out.
The development, which created 1,000 jobs locally, officially opened at 11am, kicking off five days of festivities over the Bank Holiday weekend.
The eagerly-awaited opening is set to see tens of thousands of shoppers through the doors of 58 shops, cafés and restaurants over the opening weekend.
The centre’s contemporary, high quality design makes use of natural materials, and incorporates extensive landscaping and specially commissioned public art. Well-known high street stores, cafés and restaurants such as Next, M&S, Starbucks and Prezzo will feature alongside award-winning local independent stores, such as Little Soles and Solent Cycles.
Neil Carter, Centre Manager said:
“Whiteley is designed for the shopper. Our opening hours, free parking for up to three hours, the mix of retailers, cafés and restaurants and the services to assist shoppers, recognise that people shop in different ways on different days.
Whether it’s your weekly grocery shop, a quick top up shop after work, or a more leisurely shopping spree, Whiteley will cater to all needs.”
18 of Whiteley’s 58 retailers feature a ‘click and collect’ service in-store, while Boots offers a late night pharmacy and the centre’s seven restaurants stay open until late, providing a great after work eating out destination.
Catering to local consumers and helping local business, Whiteley residents were consulted on the types of local, independent shops they would like to see in the new development, with a local baker, greengrocer, hairdresser, cycle shop, sweet shop, children’s shoe shop, bistro and estate agent signing up to stores and a monthly market starting in July.
Providing a base for pop up events and stores, the innovative Treehouse is unique to Whiteley, featuring a programme of one-off installations and events throughout 2013.
For launch, The Treehouse will host a mini exhibition on the story behind the all-new Whiteley, along with ‘construction workshops’ for children. To celebrate the opening of The Treehouse, local individuals, groups and businesses have been invited to bid for a week in the space to showcase an idea, business or charity.
The five day launch weekend will feature a fun line up of events in the malls, from entertainers to fashion workshops, musical entertainment to children’s activities, plus a host of offers and events from the Whiteley retailers.
Neil Carter, Centre Manager at Whiteley, said:
“The fun and entertainment will extend throughout our opening day up until the stores close at 8pm, recognising that many people will visit us after school and work. If you can’t make it on opening day, there is a lot going on throughout the entire weekend and Bank Holiday Monday. We’re really looking forward to welcoming our shoppers to Whiteley for the very first time.”
• Opening on May 23rd, Whiteley, will be the UK’s newest shopping destination, comprising of 58 shops, restaurants and cafés
• Brands at Whiteley include Bank, Beaverbrooks, Blacks, Boots, Card Factory, Carphone Warehouse, Claire’s, Clarks, Clintons, Fat Face, Holland & Barrett, JD Sports, Jones Bootmaker, Ladbrokes, M&S, Mamas and Papas, Moss, Next, Paperchase, Phones 4u, River Island, Sabichi, Schuh, Sports Direct, The Body Shop, The Entertainer, Tiger, Topshop, Trespass, Vision Express and WH Smith
• Local independent retailers include Little Soles children’s shoe shop, the Fabulous Bakers, Whiteley Fruiterers greengrocers, Russell’s Sweet Shop, Xpress Beauty, Solent Cycles and local estate agent Walker & Waterer
• Shoppers can relax at 14 cafes and restaurants including Costa Coffee, Frankie & Benny’s, Prezzo, Starbucks, Chimichanga, Harvester, Dean’s Diner, Caffé Nero, Subway and exclusively to Whiteley, independent bistro Montagu’s has a glazed kiosk in the mall
• Whiteley will be open seven days a week: Mon – Fri 9am – 8pm, Sat 9am – 7pm and Sun 11am - 5pm. Individual shop times may vary. Restaurants will be open until 11pm Mon – Sat, and until 10.30pm on Sundays
• Whiteley has over 1,500 parking spaces offering up to three hours free parking and free parking after 6pm
• Whiteley is easily accessible, situated one mile from Junction 9 on the M27.
For further information on Whiteley visit: www.whiteleyshopping.co.uk